The US Department of State last week released its annual publication “Country reports on human rights practices” which reviews the global human rights situation throughout the world.. The report highlights serious problems in the field of human rights in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia and a systematic democratic deficit in the governance of the three countries. Many of the issues raised in the report have been reported on by Caucasus Elections Watch throughout last year, including the situation in prisons, problems with the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, harassment of opposition activists and problems with the electoral process.
The Georgian government has announced that it will conduct a population census from 5-19 November 2014, and preparations will commence from this year. The Minister for Regional Development and Infrastructure Davit Narmania and the Head of the National Statistics Department Zaza Chelidze told a press conference in Tbilisi last week that special groups of people will go door-to-door to provide preliminary information about the number of persons living in houses. At the first stage, about 4 000 persons will be employed. From November 5-19, the plan will enter the second stage with a complete census of the population. 15 000 persons are being selected to conduct the interviews based on a special questionnaire.
Narmania noted that the government made a decision to conduct an agricultural census along with the population census, which means that along with social and demographic data, information will be gathered about agricultural and industrial activities. The results of the census will be published step by step, and the first results will be made public after six months, Zaza Chelidze said. About USD 10 million will be spent on the census. The last census was conducted in 1989 and found that 5 443 000 people were living in the country, including the population of the breakaway areas Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
According to the population data from 2002, which were published without a census, 4 601 500 people were living in Georgia at the time. Official figures from 2012 show that the population in territories controlled by the Georgian government was about 4.5 million, while in 2011 it was estimated to be about 4,479 000. However a number of NGOs claim that these figures are inflated and that the population of Georgia may be a million less than is claimed.
Georgia has not had a population census for a long time and the census is both a necessary and a sensitive exercise. Results of the census are likely to help build a picture of the accuracy of Georgia’s voting list, which in the past had proved to be a problematic issue during elections. The census will be an important tool in highlighting sensitive issues in Georgian society, including the issue of an aging population and birth rates amongst different ethnic groups, as well as the actual size of ethnic communities. It is therefore essential that the census be conducted with as much accuracy and professionalism as possible and that the data will be released transparently and in a timely fashion.
Source: CEW Staff report with dfwatch.org
The incumbent Armenian President and favorite in next month’s Presidential election, Serzh Sargsyan, was born on 30 June 1954 in the then-Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, where he was an active member of the Komsomol Communist Youth organisation and Secretary of its local branch and later became Assistant to Genrikh Poghosyan, the First Secretary of the Nagorno-Karabakh Communist Party Regional Committee.
During 1972-1974, he served in the USSR armed forces. In 1979, he graduated from the Philological Department of Yerevan State University.
As Head of the Nagorno-Karabakh self-defence forces Committee from 1989-93 he was an active participant in the fighting with Azerbaijani forces that led to the region’s separation from Azerbaijan. In 1990, Serzh Sargsyan was elected as a deputy to the Supreme Council of Armenia. From 1993 to 1995, he was the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Armenia. From 1995 to 1996, he was the Head of the Republic of Armenia State Security Department and, later, the Minister of National Security. From 1996 to 1999, he was the Republic of Armenia Minister of Interior and National Security. In this position he was instrumental in helping his old friend from Nagorno-Karabakh, Robert Kocharian, who was then the President of the territory, to move to Yerevan where he eventually became President after President Levon Ter Petrosyan was forced to resign.
Under Kocharian, Sargsyan served as Minister of Defence and Secretary of the National Security Council and was appointed Prime Minister in 2007. After Kocharian second term ended Sargsyan contested the 2008 election which he won in the second round, amidst opposition claims of election fraud.
Those who have observed Serzh Sargsyan political career over the last two decades say that he is essentially a “soviet style military man who has understood the need for reform”. He has been able to manage expertly the rough and tumble of Armenia political life, managing first the transition from Ter Petrosyan to Kocharian, and later his own transition to the Presidency. He is well aware of Armenia’s challenges and limitations and is subsequently a pragmatist. When in 2007 he emerged from the relative shadow of appointments in the military and security sides of government to become Prime Minister, he embraced reform as a necessity. He pursued it cautiously but not without vigor. This has also been the hallmark of his presidency since 2008. More…
Amidst all the controversy surrounding the forthcoming parliamentary elections in Georgia it is sometimes easy to forget the issues at stake, and what the parties stand for. Marion Kipiani has been going through the election programmes of four major Georgian political parties to compare their positions on a range of issues
In the latest issue of Caucasus Elections Watch she summarises the position of the United National Movement, Georgian Dream, the Christian Democratic Movement and the New Rights Party on issues ranging from Education and health care to the country’s territorial integrity.
With the publication of the voters’ list ahead of the 1 October parliamentary election the glaring difference in the size of constituencies, and the impact that it may have on the result of the elections has become only too obvious. Despite the fact that this issue has been highlighted many times by the international community, particularly the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the OSCE no remedial action has been taken.
According to the data that has been released by the Central Elections Commission of Georgia there are 3,621,256 voters. Whilst all voters have one vote the importance of this vote varies depending on the constituency. Whilst 77 MPs are elected on a proportional party list, the other 73 are elected through single member constituencies. The size of these constituencies varies enormously with some having only a few thousand voters and others exceeding 150,000 voters. More…
Georgian National Security Council. His televised speech in that capacity in November 2003 at the height of the “Rose Revolution” probably
sealed the fate of the Shevardnadze government. Japaridze was appointed for a short time as Georgian foreign Minister after the revolution
but did not see eye to eye with many of the leaders that emerged after those events and was removed in March 2004.
He retains respect in key elements within the international community, particularly the US. In 2011 he became a member of the core team of
Bidzhina Ivanishvili’s party, and subsequently of the Georgian Dream coalition. More…
The Irish Chairmanship of the OSCE and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR)will be hosting a meeting in Vienna on 12-13 July to discuss democratic elections and elections observation.
This Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting (SHDM) will provide a platform to discuss best practices in follow-up and implementation of the OSCE commitments on democratic elections and explore strategies and key issues in election observation. The SHDM will also address such election related matters as universal and equal suffrage rights, legal framework, media, campaign financing, and gender.
The meeting cannot be more timely for the countries of the South Caucasus in the middle of a crucial cycle of elections. More…
Armenian Parliamentary Elections
6 May 2012 – Results
Number of voters: 1,573,053
Number of voters on the voting list (including those registered on polling day): 2,523,101
Percentage of voter turnout: 62.26%
Number of blank or invalid votes: 53,831
Results (Proportional Lists Elections) :
Republican Party: 664,440 (44.02%)
Prosperous Armenia: 454,673 (30.12%)
ANC: 106,903 (7.08%)
ARF: 85,550 (5.67%)
Rule of Law: 83,123 (5.51%)
Heritage: 86,998 (5.76%)
Armenian Communist Party: 15,899 (1.5%)
Democratic Party of Armenia: 5,577 (0.37%)
United Armenians Party: 2,945 (0.20%) More…